The Cure For Boredom






“Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is
boredom. The first is being a bore.” — Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton


Now is that interesting, or what? It’s definitely fascinating.
This is a topic about which anyone can get excited. Don’t you agree? Your
curiosity is likely peaking as you read; and good for you. As Ellen Parr
pointed out, “The cure for boredom is curiosity.” Read on. Your boredom is
certainly about to experience the cure it needs.


Leo Tolstoy knew that you would be curious about this. He said,
“Boredom: the desire for desires.” Be sure you examine this carefully. Boredom isn’t
a problem for you unless you don’t have any desires but desire some. He may
have intended that wanting to increase what you want can be boring too; but it
seems likely that he only had in mind desiring to change total desire
deprivation.


F. Scott Fitzgerald also had a useful perspective. “Boredom is
not an end product, is comparatively rather an early stage in life and art.
You’ve got to go by or past or through boredom, as through a filter, before the
clear product emerges.” The good news here is that it may take a while to
figure out what Fitzgerald was trying to say; so while you are pondering, you
won’t be bored. If you get it figured out too quickly, you can also consider
Jean Baudrillard’s comparison, “Boredom is like a pitiless zooming in on
the epidermis of time. Every instant is dilated and magnified like the pores of
the face.” As some teenagers say, “Yuck!” The idea seems to be that
boredom is but a mere pimple on the face of time or some such.


Bert Leston Taylor makes the shift from boredom to bores. He
said, “A bore is a man who, when you ask him how he is, tells you.” Christian
Nestell Bovee was even more elucidating, “There are few wild beasts more to be
dreaded than a communicative man having nothing to communicate.” Of course, he
too was talking about bores. Louis Kronenberger even suggested a way of
classifying bores, “Highly educated bores are by far the worst; they know so
much, in such fiendish detail, to be boring about.” However, Byron may have had
the best idea. “It is to be hoped that, with all the modern improvements, a
mode will be discovered of getting rid of bores; for it is too bad that a poor
wretch can be punished for stealing your pocket handkerchief or gloves, and
that no punishment can be inflicted on those who steal your time, and with it
your temper and patience, as well as the bright thoughts that might have
entered into your mind , but were frightened away by the bore.” Okay, enough is enough. As
Dylan Thomas said, “Somebody’s boring me. I think it’s me.”






Good Instincts






“Good instincts tell you what to do long
before your head has figured it out.” — Michael Burke


People want reasons or explanations for your decisions,
behavior, opinions, and judgments. They want to know “why” along with knowing
“what.” They need to make sense of things and look to you for reasons and
explanations. The problem is that you frequently struggle with providing
adequate, accurate responses to the questions and concerns. Often, those
decisions, behavior, opinions, and judgments were primarily based on intuitive
insights and processes. This means that you don’t actually know “why.” The best
you can do at times is, “It felt right,” or “It seemed like a good idea at the
time.” If pressed, you “construct” a reason or explanation; but it’s definitely
post hoc and likely does not account for the “what” of the event or
circumstance. A much more accurate response would be, “I just went with my
hunch,” although people are seldom satisfied with that as the reason or explanation.






The God Of Good Manners






“Good manners can replace morals. It may be
years before anyone knows if what you are doing is right. But if what you are
doing is nice, it will be immediately evident.” — P.J. O’Rourke


The idea seems to be that good manners can and often do cover up
the proverbial multitude of sins. As Arthur Schopenhauer put it, “Politeness is
to human nature what warmth is to wax.” It may quickly distort or otherwise
transform reality. What seems sincere may merely be the latest example of Abel
Stevens’ observation, “Politeness is the art of choosing among one’s real
thoughts.” The point is that in an effort to “be nice,” candor can easily take
a backseat to what Emily Post described as “a sensitive awareness of the
feelings of others.” The desire not to upset or offend takes priority over the
responsibility to be honest and straightforward.


Of course, W. Somerset Maugham did say, “I don’t think you want
too much sincerity in society. It would be like an iron girder in a house of
cards.” And Lord Halifax said, “A man that should call everything by its right
name would hardly pass the streets without being knocked down as a common
enemy.” The conclusion follows that there is an appropriate, middle ground
between total honesty and bad manners. One should find that balance between excessive
rudeness and being unnecessarily impolite on the one hand and knavery or
excessive dishonesty on the other.


Are you tempted to agree with this argument? If so, you are
probably aligning with the polite majority of people who behave as if the choice
is between candor and insensitive rudeness. When it comes time to choose, they
generally lean toward avoiding being seen as rude or as having bad manners. The
result is that they are often dishonest, at least somewhat. Personal integrity
is partially sacrificed to the god of good manners. When you are thus tempted,
Cesare Pavese’s observation is worth considering, “Perfect behavior is born of
complete indifference.”


Perhaps the real issue isn’t your honesty, your integrity, or
your manners. Rather, it is your discomfort with how you fear others will react
to you if you actually say what you think, accurately express your feelings,
and practice the candor you profess to value so highly. Often the issue is
dealing with the bad manners of other people. As Gabirol put it, “The test of
good manners is to be patient with bad ones.” the famous Anon. expressed the
idea this way, “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you
– not because they are nice, but because you are;” and F. Scott Fitzgerald
said, “It’s not a slam at you when people are rude – it’s a slam at the people
they’ve met before.” The best conclusion is that there is never a good excuse
for bad manners and that “situational integrity” isn’t integrity at all. Calmly
and respectfully stand up, speak up, shut up, and sit down and then politely
listen, making it immediately evident that you indeed are nice.






Excuses






“Don’t make excuses, make good.”
– The Famous Anon.


You don’t make excuses for not getting the job done. Since you
most always get the job done, the situation does not come up very often. When
it does happen that you don’t get the job done, you accept full and personal
responsibility for the outcome. Even if circumstances have worked against
getting the expected outcome or if someone else hasn’t done what they were
supposed to do, you accept responsibility for not anticipating the problem or
glitch. You know that, had you been smarter or cleverer, you would have
anticipated and handled the situation. Through accepting responsibility and
retrospective analysis, both your cognitive and intuitive capacities will serve
you better the next time.






Slow To Share






“Companion none is like unto the mind
alone; for many have been harmed by speech; through thinking, few or none.” –
Sir Thomas Vaux


You are slow to share your ideas and opinions. You certainly
have a wide range of ideas and opinions on most everything of interest to you.
Nonetheless, you usually only share your thoughts and perspectives when
specifically asked to do so. Even then, you are frequently reluctant to
verbalize your thoughts. Instead, you prefer continuing to scan and process
what other people are saying. This is because your intuitive processes are
continuously assimilating and interpreting the content and adjusting and
reconsidering its meaning. You are just too busy listening to interrupt the
process by talking. To convert what you think to conscious thought would
require stopping and trying to find something to say. That would simply be too
disruptive.